After a short absence due to campaign finance laws, I’m pleased that I can write to you again.
I like to use this e-newsletter to explain topics that I believe are important to you, but may not be adequately explained by the news media.
One topic that has been in the news is the DACA program.
DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a program which allows undocumented immigrants who were brought to our country as children to study and work legally for renewable periods of two years.
The program, set up in 2012, allowed these immigrants to stay in America so long as they had committed no crimes and met certain requirements. As of this year, there are nearly 800,000 people enrolled in the program, with more than 120,000 in Texas.
At the time, there was some controversy over whether the president could set up a program such as DACA. In fact, President Obama said in 2011 that he couldn't “just bypass Congress and change the [immigration] law myself. ... That's not how a democracy works.” However, in 2012 he changed his mind and implemented this program.
President Trump has taken a different approach. In September last year, he announced that he would phase out the DACA program. The Administration believes that the DACA program is not constitutional. President Trump’s policy change meant that Congress would have to find a solution by March 5. If no solution was found, it would risk exposing DACA recipients to deportation.
However, last month a judge blocked the Trump Administration from winding down DACA. The Supreme Court is likely to issue a ruling sometime later this fall on the program’s constitutionality. The Trump Administration said this week that current DACA recipients and those who have filed two-year application renewals will not be arrested or deported. This is good news, because the program was supposed to expire earlier this week.
While the courts argue, some of us in Congress are trying to find a legislative solution. I have told you and my colleagues in Congress that we must find a way to keep DACA recipients in our country.
DACA recipients came here through no fault of their own, and have no family or home where their parents came from. They’re members of our communities and upstanding young people. I’ve also said that border funding and immigration reform should also be a part of any solution.
I will continue to work with Republicans and Democrats to protect DACA recipients, strengthen our borders, and reform our broken immigration system.